Lest We Forget The Tsunami

You may recall that I’ve been involved in an Asian tsunami relief effort called the Canadian Committee for Relief to (Sri Lanka’s) Eastern Province. Our first mission, during which our team (which did not include me, in case you’re wondering) delivered emergency medical supplies to affected areas, returned last month. One of their tasks was to administer a survey, part of which I designed, to children living in refugee camps, in an attempt to measure the extent of post-traumatic stress syndrome as a result of both the tsunami and the decades-long civil war.

Well, I’ve just spent the past 3 hours entering data from the surveys into a statistics package, and hope to have some analyses ready for presentation very soon. Why do I mention it? Because this has been the most emotionally trying data analysis project I’ve ever endured. It’s actually quite difficult to read these surveys of children who are reporting that they watched their fathers drown, who have nightmares every night, who cry when they see the water, and who are suffering from headaches, stomach aches and fevers while living in cramped refugee camps. It’s one thing to consider these things from afar, but quite another to read their accounts, written in their own hand, at our behest.

So keep this stuff fresh in your minds, people. It may be off the front pages, but it’s still going on.

Updates

Let me say it again: man, am I tired.

Last night I was fortunate to attend a networking dinner with the federal Minister of Health Ujjal Dosanjh. Here’s a blurry photo of him, taken on my Treo. (He’s the brown dude on the left.)

I didn’t get a chance to say much more than hello to him, but he seemed like a nice fellow. As a PhD working in the medical field, it was a joy to be in the company of a Health Minister who is not an MD. In fact, it was nice generally to be in the company of South Asians who weren’t all doctors for a change!

Speaking of working in the medical field, today I received yet another invitation to appear on television to discuss avian flu. This time it was from the Discovery Channel. I jumped at the chance to say yes, since I have nothing but respect for Discovery’s programming and scientific ethic. However, I will be in Paris on their taping date, so it is not to be. Alas.

I did, however, receive some other good PR news today. It turns out that an interview I did last year was published in the November 2004 issue of Books In Canada. Sweet! Can’t wait to see a copy.

And speaking of my other career, you will note from my News & Appearances page that my book signing at the Ottawa Public Library has been moved from March 10 to March 24. So mark your calendars, kids!

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